Vehicle industry slams government decision to cut hybrid auto subsidies

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The British government has announced that the subsidy programme for EVs would be cut by 1,000 pounds starting next month, and that a number of plug-in hybrids would be cut from the subsidy programme "Plug-in Car Grant" (PICG). And eight out of 10 (83%) say that the high purchase price of electric and hybrid cars is the main stumbling block to owning such a auto.

The announcement comes two weeks before chancellor Philip Hammond is due to make his annual Budget statement and three months after the government published its Road to Zero strategy, with a proposal to remove petrol and diesel cars from United Kingdom roads by 2050, a move that could force all motorists to own electric models.

In a statement, the firm said it was now "the ideal time" to offer increased plug-in incentives, because "such technology forms the flawless segue between conventional petrol and diesel powered and full electric vehicles, particularly as the charging network is nowhere near evolved enough to support widespread full EV use".

Under the changes, the...

So the government probably expects vehicle makers to respond with price cuts and little measurable effect on sales.

The UK government is abolishing the plug-in auto grant, in place since 2011, for all vehicles other than pure electric cars or those that can offer more than 70 miles of zero-emission range.

The motoring groups warned the move would leave the government struggling to meet vehicle emissions targets.

In a statement, the firm added: "As motorists seek a low-emission, fuel efficient alternative to diesel vehicles, now should be the ideal time for the government to incentivise plug-in hybrid technology, not pull its support, because such technology forms the flawless segue between conventional petrol and diesel powered and full EVs, particularly as the charging network is nowhere near evolved enough to support widespread full EV use".

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"At a time when air quality is of great concern, those who bought diesels in good faith, and with Government encouragement, will feel they have been given the cold shoulder rather than a helping hand".

Reacting to the news, John Pryor, chairman of fleet operator organisation ACFO, said: "The government's decision to reduce financial support for plug-in vehicles is, quite frankly, bonkers".

"The government's announcement not only cuts financial support but gives no certainty to fleets as to how long any cash support will be available if they choose to introduce plug-in vehicles to their fleets in the future".

He added: "At a time when the government is desperately trying to encourage the take-up of plug-in vehicles to achieve its environmental objectives, it is a decision that is hard to understand".

Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV is one vehicle that will no longer be eligible for the Governments plug-in auto grant following the changes.

Lyes said that up-front cost was still a huge barrier for those hoping to switch to an electric vehicle - a fact underlined by the recent NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey - before describing the Government's move as "a big step backwards". The new regulations will take hold as of the 9th of November.

The thinking doesn't seem very joined up and the message is definitely a mixed one.

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